- 3 ways to control airflow: HR, Speed or Manually
- Concentrated stream of air
- Quieter than typical fans
- Compact size for a small footprint
- Wheels lets you easily move it out of the way
- Sleep mode
- Doesn’t dry out eyes (concern for contact wearers)
- Can’t place in front of cycling desk
- Trainer specific, not useful for full room cooling
Maximum Speed: 30mph/48kph
Footprint: 16”L x 12”W x 19”H
Availability: Online or Retail
How obtained: Sample from company
RBR Sponsor: No
As a follow up to Lars’ Wahoo Kickr, Headwind and Climb review, I thought this week I’d focus specifically on the Kickr Headwind smart fan.
Bottom line, when I work out, I sweat a lot and riding indoors just makes it worse. Prior to testing the Wahoo Kickr Headwind, I had one big fan oscillating while on the trainer. It was loud and annoying. With the Headwind, I now have specifically directed and controllable airflow in a quiet, small footprint (16”Lx12”Wx19”H). As a contact wearer, wind/fans can cause my eyes to dry out. But with the Headwind you can adjust where the wind hits you by the fan’s placement. Closer the airflow is lower on the body, farther away higher on the face. Mine is about 6 feet from the front wheel and I’m totally a happy camper.
Basically, Set up and Go
The Headwind comes completely assembled. At 12 pounds, take it out of the box, plug it in and you are ready to go. Since it is a smart fan, you can use an app to control it and/or pair your speed or heart rate monitor. I already had the Wahoo app on my smartphone since I use it with my Wahoo Kickr. I simply opened the app, selected Sensors, Add New Sensor and found the Headwind. From the app I can use the slider control to set the fan speed which is much nice compared to a standard fan. Prior to using the Headwind, I’d warm up for 10 minutes on the bike, then get off and turn on the fan, do my workout and get off the bike to turn the fan off for my cool down. Now, I can turn it on/off right from the app.
There are two other options to control the Headwind. First, by heart rate and second by speed. Pairing is basically the same for either option and done directly using the fan control panel. After selecting SPD or HR on the face of the fan, holding the power button for 3 seconds will begin a search for unpaired ANT+ enabled sensors and trainers.
I found I used the fan on either HR mode or manual. The speed mode made no sense to me. If you are going fast the effort is probably easy. But if you are going slow, then it most likely means you’re climbing. If I’m climbing, there’s a lot more effort and I want the fan full force to keep me cool. According to the Wahoo rep, the speed feature is for those users that want to simulate an outdoor ride. In reality, how many folks use the speed setting?
Being a smart fan, the Headwind saves the last paired sensor (even if unplugged) for automatic pairing. For example, my trainer is in the basement and when I’m done with my workout I head upstairs for a shower. Once the HR monitor is out of range, the fan turns off and goes to “sleep.” The next time I go down to the basement wearing my HR monitor and hop on the trainer, the Headwind “wakes up” and is in HR mode. Pretty slick. If for some reason I want to switch to the speed sensor or another user is wearing a different HR monitor, simply select the desired mode, hold the power button for 3 seconds to begin a new search for unpaired sensors and trainers.
Setting Min & Max Fan Speed
The minimum and maximum fan speed as it relates to HR or speed is easily adjusted via the app. From the app, select Sensors and then Headwind to open the sensor. Then select the desired mode to adjust (speed or HR). From the final screen you can set min and max values for speed or HR. The Headwind will blow at its minimum or maximum (30 mph/48 kph) speed at the values you select.
In the above app screen shots, I set the min/max for both the heart rate and the speed. The app has defaults, so you don’t need to go through the set up. But I found it needed to be adjusted for my preference.
Using with a Trainer Table
If you are like me, you have a high table next to the bike, so items are within reach while on the trainer. I use my table to easily access the laptop as well as place nutrition, phone, and TV remote. My table is the same open concept as the Wahoo Desk just a homemade version. To use the Headwind directly in front of the bike, I needed to offset the table. If you don’t want to move the table, you can put the fan off to the side.
Compatible Devices with Headwind
The Headwind pairs via Bluetooth® with Apple iOS devices on iOS 9.0 or newer, Android devices running Android 5.1 Lollipop or newer. Or it connects directly to ANT+ enabled heart rate monitors, speed sensors and trainers. When testing the Headwind, I was using a Wahoo Kickr (speed), Garmin heart rate monitor and an Apple iPhone X.
No argument from me, the Wahoo Kickr Headwind smart fan is expensive. You can go to your local store and buy a lot of fans for $250. But then you’d feel like you are in a wind tunnel and wouldn’t be able to hear the TV or music over the rushing air. The time I spend on the trainer is much more pleasant since using the Headwind. I’m cooler, can hear the TV, and my contacts don’t dry out. Being able to control the air flow from an app, HR monitor or speed sensor lets me get down to training quicker and not having to jump on and off the bike. If you have it in your bike budget to invest in the Headwind, I can highly recommend it. The Headwind has made this long, cold Chicago winter in the basement on the trainer a lot more bearable.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.